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Posts Tagged ‘reading’

Illuminating reading

A friend from college wrote the best post on Facebook today:

[My daughter] has a habit (can’t quite call it a bad habit) of staying up too late reading. The standard punishment in the house is loss of all electronics the next day, so she can’t use computers, watch TV, etc. Result? When she reads too much, the punishment is … more reading. I wonder who’s fooling who?

I remember my mom catching me with a flashlight under the covers. Supposedly reading with a flashlight was bad for my eyes. Considering I already wore coke-bottle thick glasses, I couldn’t imagine my vision getting much worse. I realize now that it was a matter of sleep. I wasn’t a morning person and staying up all night reading didn’t bode well for a good morning.

What a joy it was to read in bed at night. There was no one to bother me. No chores. No homework. No little sister bugging me. No loud TV in the next room. It was just me, my books, and the wonderful characters. I escaped into the worlds of Beezus and Ramona, Anne of Green Gables, Jo March and her sisters, Laura Ingalls, Nancy Drew, Betsy, Tacy & Tib, Caddie Woodlawn, Meg Murry, and so many others.

I think of those nights often as I snuggle in bed with my book and my book light (apparently a book light is an acceptable amount of light for reading, but a flashlight will ruin your eyes). There is no one to bother me. No cooking or cleaning. No school work. No kids bugging me. No loud TV. It’s just me, my books, even more wonderful characters, and my snoring husband.

I’m still more of an afternoon person rather than a morning person – just ask my husband or kids – so I try to not stay up too late reading each night. But sometimes there just isn’t a good stopping place. The next thing I know I’m turning out the light and it’s 1 or 2 o’clock in the morning. I think about the busy day that lies ahead – kids, school, errands, cooking, cleaning, laundry, and I’m grateful that I love coffee too.


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Reading picture books every day is a great perk of my job as a Kindergarten teacher. OK to be honest, I would probably read picture books even if I wasn’t teaching.

The illustrations in picture books can be beautiful, poignant, or perfect in their simplicity. The stories can make me laugh. They can make me cry. Very often I find meaningful life lessons in picture books.

Yesterday I read Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes by Erick Litwin and James Dean to my class. This was a new book for me – recommended by another teacher friend.  Once we were done reading it, I couldn’t believe I had never met Pete before!

You see, Pete the Cat loves his white shoes so much that he sings about them – I love my white shoes. I love my white shoes. I love my white shoes. But as he is walking around he steps into different strawberries, blueberries, and mud turning his shoes different colors. Does Pete get upset? Does Pete cry? No! Not even close. Pete’s a cool cat and when his shoes turn a different color he loves them just as much as before. His responses include awesome, everything is cool, and groovy.  He sings about how much he loves his new [insert color] shoes.

The moral of Pete’s story is: No matter what you step in, keep walking along and singing your song….because it’s all good.

We had a phenomenal time singing along and saying cool things with Pete – because it’s all good!

I think we  should all approach with the ease and equanimity of Pete the Cat. That’s my life lesson for today!

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For a little fun click on the TV to watch a video of the author performing a live reading of his awesome book!

Eric Litwin reading Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes

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Visiting Old Friends

I just started reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  This is probably my fourth reading of the book. I remember reading the final book in this phenomenal series when it was first published. I know I read it again last year when my two boys were reading the series for the first time. And I’m pretty sure there was a time in-between the first time and last year. The second half of the Deathly Hallow movies comes out in 6 days and I wanted to review the story before experiencing the movie version. I won’t be seeing the movie opening night so I have a few extra days to finish the 759 paged tome.

I am a rereader and have been ever since I was a kid. I can distinctly hear my mother’s voice, “You’re reading that again?!” There are some books I have read at least a dozen times – A Wrinkle in Time, the Anne of Green Gables series, Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn  – and some books I have read two or three times. If I enjoyed a book then chances are I will reread it. That is one of the reasons I am reluctant to purge my bookshelves – what if I want to reread that book some day.

                    

My husband almost never rereads a book. If he does it is completely accidental – he didn’t remember if he had read it already. I know other people who feel that there are too many books in the world to reread books. I feel very differently.

If I have fallen in love with a character or story then I will revisit them time and time again. Books are my escape, especially works of fiction. I disappear into the stories. I live vicariously through the characters. I can read for hours upon hours and not get restless or bored. I always have a book that I am currently reading. Always. The book may take me as little as a few hours to read or a few weeks. But on any given day you can ask me, “What are you reading?” and I will have an answer.

I am a fast reader and have little patience. Anticipation drives me crazy. I have been known to fly through a book because I have to know what happens! If that is the case and it was a great book then I will almost certainly reread it at some point. During my second reading I can linger over the story catching bits and pieces I might have missed in my earlier flight.

Sometimes I reread a book because I’m not sure what to read next. If I don’t have a particular book I am anxious to read in my queue, then I might opt for rereading a favorite. My feeling is that I would rather reread something I know I will enjoy than read something I’m not sure I will. This is one of the reasons why I enjoy reading books in a series – I want to discover what else happens to the characters I’ve come to know. Series books are usually easier to fall into since I don’t have to develop a relationship with the character, I already know him or her.

Sure there are a lot of books out there that I should read and want to read. I will get to them eventually. Right now I’ll enjoy my visit with an old friend, Harry Potter, even if he makes my beach bag significantly heavier for the next few days.

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